Chelsea Fowler of the Cascades carries the ball during Canada West sevens rugby series action in Edmonton.

Chelsea Fowler of the Cascades carries the ball during Canada West sevens rugby series action in Edmonton.

UFV Cascades debut on rugby sevens pitch

Women’s team battles rivals at first Canada West tournament of 2017

For the first time ever, the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades hit the rugby pitch in Canada West competition.

The Cascades women’s rugby sevens club made its debut in Edmonton at the first rugby sevens series event of 2017.

Wins eluded the Cascades, who failed to record a victory in six games.

In round-robin action on Jan. 21, the Cascades fell to Calgary (40-0), Victoria (31-5) and Alberta (38-5), and results on Jan. 22 included losses to UBC (40-0) and Lethbridge (43-0). UFV faced UBC in the fifth-sixth placing game to conclude the tournament, and dropped a 40-0 decision. Chelsea Fowler accounted for both of the Cascades’ tries during the tourney.

The Cascades were the lone team at the event without an existing varsity 15s rugby to draw from.

Head coach Jen Ross is overseeing a true start-up, and while her squad didn’t come away with any wins at the University of Alberta’s Foote Field, Ross was pleased with what she saw in terms of potential.

“Overall, it was a hugely positive experience, and it really got the girls to believe in the future of the program,” Ross said. “We just don’t have the depth or experience that the other teams have at this point, so maintaining that consistency for the duration of games was a challenge. But we certainly didn’t feel like we can’t compete at this level. We just need to keep growing the program and getting more athletes out to play.

“All of the other teams were excited to have us there and were very encouraging, and were impressed with the calibre of athletes we had.”

UVic earned top spot at the event by defeating Calgary 12-5 in the final on Jan. 22.

The Canada West Women’s Rugby Sevens Series features two more events, hosted by UBC (Feb. 4 and 5) and Victoria (Feb. 18 and 19), and a champion will be crowned on Feb. 19 as determined by cumulative series points.

For more on the series, visit canadawest.org.

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